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The Interislander Ferry

The Interislander ferry crossed the Cook Strait
The Interislander ferry crossed the Cook Strait

The Interislander Ferry is an iconic part of any journey around New Zealand. For many, it’s the gateway from the North to the South Island or vice versa and a necessary trip for thousands of visitors and Kiwis every year. Departing from Wellington in the North Island and dropping you in Picton in the South Island, the Interislander ferry is a 92km journey across the Cook Strait that will take you around three hours. It has been described as one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world and it’s easy to see why as you draw closer to Picton and the Marlborough Sounds.

Crossing the Cook Strait

The journey across the Cook Strait is something that every Kiwi or visitor to New Zealand should experience at least once. It is a truly stunning crossing that will leave you breathless and excited for the adventures that lie ahead. Each year, thousands of tourists make their way across the Cook Strait on their journey of discovery around New Zealand. Whether you’re travelling by car, coach or as a foot passenger, the three hour crossing is simply beautiful whether you are heading north to south or south to north.

The Interislander operates three ships – the Kaiarahi, Aratere and Kaitaki and all are capable of carrying passengers and vehicles, operating 11 crossing each day.

The voyage

The voyage across the Cook Strait will take you out of Wellington harbour and across a relatively short stretch of water until you hit the Marlborough Sounds at the tip of the South Island. From here you will wind your way through a series of spectacular sounds and through the Tory Channel before continuing your journey through the Queen Charlotte Sound. These waterways are truly spectacular and whilst you can take a trip out to explore these stunning sounds, the Interislander ferry is a great way to discover the beauty that awaits you on your journey around the South Island.

Arriving in Picton

For many visitors arriving in New Zealand, Auckland is often the starting point for journeys that can take them all the way around both of our beautiful islands and as far south as out third and most remote, Stewart Island. Making the journey from north to south means that for many, they will hop on the ferry in Wellington with their rental car and head across to Picton in the south. CPG is in the fortunate position of having hotels in both locations and we encourage more people to stop off in Picton rather than just carrying on their way to the likes of Nelson and Blenheim. Whilst these are undoubtedly stunning places, PIcton has so much to offer and is definitely worth exploring for a couple of days.

You can read more in our recent blogs about things to do in Picton including exploring the Queen Charlotte Track and the Sounds.

Arriving in Wellington

For those who choose to make the journey from south to north, Wellington is another great place to spend a couple of days so don’t be in a rush to head off on your travels north to the popular tourist towns like Napier, Taupo, Rotorua and beyond. New Zealand’s cool little capital has heaps going on as well as an amazing food and drink scene. Exploring the waterfront, getting out in the surrounding wine growing regions or taking time to enjoy some of New Zealand’s best coffee in one of the many café dotted around the city are great ways to spend time in Wellington.

Read more about things to do in Wellington in one of our recent blogs.

Both Picton and Wellington are great places to base yourself for a couple of days and the journey between the two is one of the most stunning you will take on your time traveling around New Zealand and the best part is that you don’t have to do anything other than sit back and enjoy the views.

Find out more about the Interislander ferry on their website. Don’t forget, if you are stopping off in either Wellington or Picton, CPG Hotels has some great deals at the Willis Wellington Hotel and Picton Yacht Club Hotel. Book today!


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